IoT and What It Means for Smart(er) Operations
The Internet of Things (IOT) is Equilibrium’s core focus, and a field that is currently the subject of much attention in the technology and business press. While the attention may be flattering, we feel it’s important to take a step back and define what IOT is, how it’s currently used, and what it really means for our customers’ business and operations. Defined broadly, IOT refers to a combination of sensors and software, connected over the internet, that enables remote monitoring and control of a wide variety of machines and systems. While the concept is often presented as new and revolutionary, it has actually existed for over a decade.
The recent dramatic increase in IOT adoption results from a natural evolution, enabled by the emergence of a few core technologies (specifically: low cost sensors, WiFi, high capacity batteries, and cloud-based software). In the past, implementing remote monitoring worked just fine but was complex and expensive to implement. Sensors had to be cabled together, connected to a server, with software installed, then wired and configured in their own network, attached to a power source…. But now, sensors can be shipped to you, with onboard battery and internet connectivity, cloud-based software that configures itself automatically, and then pushes the data to your phone.
So, what does this mean for your business?
Think about the time and expense wasted checking on key systems like point of sale, controllers, water and chemicals, power, internet, and vending – only to find they are running fine. Likewise, think about the loss of revenue and the negative impact to your customers and reputation when one or more of these systems are down – and you don’t even know it (aka, the “Silent Killers”). Now imagine being able to check your key systems on your phone or tablet, at any time, from anywhere. And being proactively alerted with a text message or email immediately, if a chemical is running low or a system is not functioning. And then being able to look back historically on the performance of any system in your operation, and drill down on its uptime and performance.
Well, you don’t have to imagine it. You can do it with IOT right now.
Learn more about IoT technology and where it’s headed in this excellent white paper from Schneider Electric: